By: Hannah Bonanducci
The issue of domestic abuse has become a rather large topic of conversation in Greece; cases of domestic violence against women are rising and alarmingly leading to an increase in murder cases. According to Greek Reporter and Nation Master, in 2021, over 20 women were murdered by their partners or former partners, a shocking number for a nation whose population is three times smaller than the U.S. and whose violence rate per 1,000 citizens is four times less than the U.S.
The conversation began to take over headlines after the violent murder of Caroline Crouch by her husband Babis Anagnostopoulos in a staged scene according to Greek Reporter. The case went on for two months under the story that she had been killed during a foreign hostage situation until Anagnostopoulos was arrested and confessed to the crime.
While Crouch’s case has received most of the spotlight, similar cases of women being beaten or stabbed to death, pushed off cliffs or even flat-out murdered in their homes are also rising to the spotlight as well, most concerningly for a clear lack of intervention beforehand. In many cases, concerns had been reported to the Greek police by either the abused or those concerned for the abused, yet little to no intervention was made according to Greek Reporter. The issue even made it to the Human Rights Watch world report for 2022 with the concern that “Women face multiple barriers to reporting domestic violence and seeking help from the state.”
In the wake of these violent crimes, many calls for change have taken place, and action has seemed to follow fairly quickly. According to the Guardian, The Greek Supreme Court ordered jurists “to fast-track cases of domestic abuse” to a 48-hour period, and furthermore, a network of support centers and shelters is being bolstered and advertised for domestic violence victims to escape to. One of the main focuses as well has been encouraging domestic violence victims to speak up about the crimes being committed.
However, “speaking up” seems to be the smallest concern for activists looking for change. On the legal side, Greeks are calling for the term femicide to be added to the Greek Penal Code to prevent murderers from getting away on a smaller charge according to the Greek Reporter. But beyond catching the murderers and abusers, many are looking to stop the abuse at its root. The reason why Greek women aren’t “speaking up” is the same reason why the abuse cases are soaring in the first place; Greece continues to grapple with historical mistreatment of women, and a systemically unequal society. Although many have spoken up against these injustices, many others in Greece continue to argue that the battle is not yet over. A significant amount of Greek women continue to fight for their right to life and safety, as they, and their international supporters, hope for national and systemic change.
Sources: Greek Reporter, Human Rights Watch, Nation Master, The Guardian